Before being offered $145 million to move to Boston, Connecticut-based General Electric nearly took space at the James A. Farley Post Office in Manhattan. Vornado Realty Trust and the Related Companies are among the firms that have bid to redevelop the old post office and Penn Station, a $3 billion project.
GE execs toured the Farley Building twice last fall and were intrigued by the tech community on Manhattan’s Far West Side, reported Politico. Emails and documents obtained by Politico show that Gov. Andrew Cuomo personally lobbied GE, along with top economic development officials who spent months trying to woo the corporation to New York State with the Start-UP NY program, a system that gives tax benefits to companies within certain “zones.”
State officials declined to say how much they offered GE in tax breaks and incentives.
According to Politico, Cuomo personally made the case to GE execs in July 2015, with a half-dozen ESD officials and a 39-slide presentation.
The presentation touted Start-Up NY, a controversial initiative that provides companies with tax benefits but is the subject of legislative inquiries.
GE execs — advised by CBRE — subsequently toured several sites in Westchester, including spots in White Plains, Tarrytown, New Rochelle where the administration said GE could help to “shape a community and to become the defining/iconic presence of a new physical fabric.” Among GE’s site requirements was a helipad, according to documents.
Following the Westchester tour, GE focused on Manhattan. “The post office redevelopment checks more boxes for us than what was shown in either White Plains or New Rochelle,” GE vice president Harri Singh wrote to administration officials, according to Politico.
There were also discussions on what incentives the state would offer GE — though terms remain unclear. “A lot of love,” is what Cuomo said publicly in July, of what New York offered to GE. [Politico] — E.B. Solomont